Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Everyone wants to have child-like belief?

Brad Warner points out something that relates to something I'd said for years on this blog:  You have responsibilities as a "student" of a "teacher."   I've said you have to kick the tires to tell if the teacher's legit; you, the "student" have to authenticate the "teacher."

He says people don't like that in general; they want baby-like trust in their teachers.

He may have a point, though I'd put it more as child-like belief. 

What goes with that is a degree of a reluctance to question the teacher.   You can see some of that in the Buddhist blogosphere, particularly if the teacher in question has not had a personal scandal of some sort or another.  So it's OK to criticize Genpo Merzel, Eido Shimano, and even Trungpa Rinpoche for their personal failings (and Merzel for his "Big Mind" hoo-hah.)

But raise questions about the whole guru principle in Tibetan Buddhism?

Nah, can't do that.  Unless you are questioning the Chinese government's claim to hegemony in those matters of "reincarnation." That you can do (and why not?)  But questioning a former head of some government's claims to hegemony in the matters of reincarnation? No, that's off limits.

Furthermore: to what extent does publications like Tricycle even now influence the narratives we create of Buddhism?  And I'm not simply talking on matters of race or politics here.

To what extent are Catholic practitioners of Zen practicing Buddhism?  Can they be?  I have never seen  Suzuki Shosan's Ha Kirishitan (破切支丹) translated into English in its entirety, but from what snippets I've seen it makes Richard Dawkins seem like a Unitarian Universalist. 

To what extent are Rinzai and Soto claims against each other valid? To what extent have we in the West been deformed by the Yasutani tradition to avoid such questioning?  To what extent have we in the West been deformed by the Buddhisms that have been diffused to us?  

I think it's important to keep some of these questions rather than take stock answers we've gotten already from any Authorized Givers of Wisdom.  Maybe answers will come for a few that  are difficult.

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